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MP asks Health Secretary to block NHS
South Norfolk MP Richard
Bacon, a member of the Commons public accounts committee, has asked
health secretary Patricia Hewitt to prevent British Telecom from
appointing Cerner1 as its new software supplier for NHS systems in
British Telecom is the main contractor for London in the NHS’s National Programme for IT, now called Connecting for Health.
Mr Bacon said: “Given the performance of Cerner so far in the South of England, it seems rather hasty to appoint the company as the main software subcontractor for the NHS IT programme in London”.
“In the South of England, where Cerner were appointed last year to replace IDX, the company were due to be deploying 8 hospital care record systems by Easter 2006. Yet so far only one system has been deployed, at Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, which has led to serious problems”2.
“The National Health Service should first see if Cerner can deliver something which actually works. Indeed, it would make much more sense to allow individual NHS trusts to choose for themselves the software supplier they want, so long as there are common standards”.
“The main contractors such as British Telecom will not appoint major suppliers without the agreement of Connecting for Health, which is answerable to ministers, so this silly and rather hasty step can be prevented”.
13 June 2006
- In December 2003 BT won a ten-year £996 million contract to update IT systems
across London in the £6.2 billion National Programme for IT in the health
service. British Telecom, which holds the main contract for updating NHS IT
systems in London, is understood to be close to reaching agreement to replace
its current software supplier IDX, owned by GE Healthcare (See also today’s
story “Cerner predicted to replace GE in London” in the leading health IT
news website E-Health Insider here. In the past 30 months BT has only implemented the IDX Carecast system at one
hospital trust in London, Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup. Informed industry
sources believe that BT is on the verge of appointing Cerner as its new software
supplier for the London contract.
- However, Cerner has also had difficulties in deploying systems into NHS
hospitals. Last year, Cerner were appointed as the main software subcontractor
to Fujitsu for the South of England cluster of the NHS’s national IT programme,
and by Easter 2006 were supposed to be deploying systems in 8 hospitals. So far
only one system has been deployed, at Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford, an
installation which has caused significant difficulties. The Nuffield was obliged
to file a Serious Untoward Incident after its care record system went live.
Examples of serious untoward incidents include events which have or may have
caused death, serious injury, or are life-threatening, or contributed to a
pattern of reduced standard of care, or caused serious disruption to services.
For more information, click here.
- To read Richard's letter to
Patricia Hewitt, click here.
© Richard Bacon 2012